joy magnetism: Usonian U-turn

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Usonian U-turn

Magnet #714 - Pope-Leighey House

There's nothing better than serendipitous sidetrips. So, after a day of hanging out at George Washington's Mount Vernon several years ago, we were headed back to my sister's place. On the way, we ended up running into the Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, VA.

The house is on the grounds of Woodlawn Plantation, which is a house that was designed by the same guy who designed the U.S. Capitol, for George Washington's nephew and wife Nelly Custis. That's a great place to visit with a cool tour, but, I was all over the Wright house.

At that point, I didn't even know that FLW even built in the DC area. Of course, at that point, I hadn't been spoiled for the tragic end of Loving Frank, either - but that's a whole different story.

Such a great unexpected sidetrip that was. We made it just in time for the last tour of the day - and the guide took us in and around the house, explaining concepts and layouts for the FLW Usonian house. Basically, FLW's goal was to bring his architecture to the common man, affordable homes for cost-conscious people with great taste.

Though I really love touring and looking at his houses, and seeing all the intricate details in his design work, I gotta be honest. I don't think I could live an a Wright house - mainly because the places he liked to make small, I like to have big. He was a big believer in common spaces being bigger, because that's where the family gathers. His homes have big living and dining rooms, with incredibly small hallways, bathrooms and bedrooms.

And, really. Have you ever tried the plopability of his sofas or chairs? I haven't sat in many, but man, if you can't plop on to a sofa or a chair, there's no point trying to sit in it!
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Vicki said...

It is funny, I love his houses, but some are kind of claustrophobic. I almost had a panic attack at the Oak Park house. I could live in Fallingwater pretty easily though.

joy said...

Yep. That's how I feel about most of his hallways. I like to move around, but those small hallways really kill me. Even when they open up to gorgeous great rooms.

Agreed about Fallingwater - though I'd have to add in some comfort furniture. And maybe move it out of the woods. That's the kind of house where things go bump in the night out in the forest. Heh.